Arthur, Ford, Trillian and Zaphod travel in time by way of an exploding computer to Milliways, the Restaurant at the end of the Universe. Here people can enjoy a good meal while watching the end of ...
Arthur Dent and Ford Prefect find themselves thrown off the Vogon spaceship into the vacuum of space. Improbably, they are rescued 29 seconds later by the Starship Heart of Gold. This brand new model...
Mere seconds before the Earth is to be demolished by an alien construction crew, journeyman Arthur Dent is swept off the planet by his friend Ford Prefect, a researcher penning a new edition of "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy."
The alumni cast of a space opera television series have to play their roles as the real thing when an alien race needs their help. However, they also have to defend both Earth and the alien race from a reptilian warlord.
Based on Douglas Adams' series of novels following the intergalactic adventures of Arthur Dent, a hapless Englishman, following the destruction of Earth by the Vogons, a race of unpleasant and bureaucratic aliens.
Arthur Dent is your average middle-class Briton. One day, while trying to prevent his house being destroyed to build a highway, his friend Ford Prefect whisks him away to the pub and explains that the Earth is about to be destroyed and they need to escape. Intergalactic, inter-time adventures ensue.Written by
Zaphod's second, remote controlled mechanical head constantly malfunctioned on the set, resulting in it lolling to the side or staring blankly into the distance. In addition, if Mark Wing-Davey became overly active whilst wearing the costume (something that was very prone to happening, due to the show's plot and Zaphod's inherent character), the motion would often strip the gears inside the head. Wing-Davey later said in interviews that the cost of building and maintaining the head probably exceeded his salary for the program. See more »
The person operating Zaphod's third arm can be seen on multiple occasions. See more »
After the credits for episode 3, the voice of the book returns briefly to resolve which one of the characters sustained a bruised arm -- a question that had been raised earlier in the episode, but left unanswered because it was unimportant. See more »
For the original run in the United States, the six-part series was edited into seven parts (since the original episodes all ran over thirty minutes and could not fit into the rigid 30-minute time slot). An interesting sidenote to this is that when the six 35-minute episodes were made into seven 30-minute episodes, the plot recap intended for the beginning of each episode appeared five minutes later in the program with each subsequent installment (and did not appear at all in the final episode!) After this version was televised on PBS stations a few times, the program disappeared from American airwaves for a while. Then the original version, with its six slightly overlong episodes, showed up, and that's all that's been seen on public TV since. See more »
Unlike the recent Movie, this mini-series is mostly good, and does an excellent job of capturing the quirky spirit of the radio original.
Probably the biggest reason why this adaptation works well is that the marvelous dialogue of the radio version has not been messed up. There are changes (as there have been in every medium the guide has been adapted into), but unlike the film version, the best and most memorable parts haven't been tampered with See the memorable quotes section for examples of this. The biggest difference between this version and the film may be that Douglas Adams was directly involved with the production of the Television version, but sadly was not around to oversee the film version, for which the loss is evident.
The special effects aren't great (think Doctor Who, circa 1980), but the performances are enough fun that it doesn't matter all that much. Many of the cast members are the originals from the radio series, and even those that aren't originals mostly do a good job with their characters. The one exception is Sandra Dickinson, who just isn't convincing as Trillian She's supposed to a very bright astrophysicist, but comes across as a bimbo/airhead. Still, the rest of the casting is excellent, so this one lapse can be forgiven.
The best part of the whole series is the visuals for the actual Guide. These are extraordinarily detailed animations, buttressing Peter Jones' voice-over from the radio original with lots of extra visual jokes and humor. One of the best parts about being able to watch this on DVD is the ability to freeze-frame some of the more interesting bits to be able to better appreciate all of the funny stuff contained within. These visuals were actually accomplished using a painstaking manual animation technique to simulate the computer displays, as 1980-era computers just weren't up to the job of doing things like this. Ironically, the simulated computer animations are a lot funnier than the actual computer animations (with 25 years worth of improved technology) in the film version.
In sum, given the choice between this and the film version, I would take this any time. The DVD version also includes lots of extra material production notes, making-of documentaries, and a tribute to the late Douglas Adams.
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